Prescott Valley horse track closer to being sold

10/5/2012 2:15 PM
By Associated Press

PRESCOTT, Ariz. (AP) — The resurrection of the Yavapai Downs horse track is one step closer to reality.

A bankruptcy trustee has filed a motion for a $5.5 million sale to the president of the state horsemen's group, Gary Miller.

Miller told the Daily Courier (http://bit.ly/OI0c4J) that he'd also like to bring the county fair back to the site. And he would consider reviving other events, including car races and horse shows, at the county-owned events center next door that has been leased to the racetrack owners in the past.

"I think this is going to be a community place, in addition to the racetrack," Miller said.

The Prescott Valley track never opened for the 2011 summer racing season on Memorial Day weekend, and it remains closed. It was one of only three commercial horse racetracks operating in Arizona.

The track's former owner, the Yavapai County Farm and Agriculture Association, filed for bankruptcy in July 2011.

Miller submitted the top bid of $3.25 million for the track facilities during a bankruptcy court auction six months ago, but the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Office of Rural Development rejected it.

He then offered $3.5 million and was again rejected. The USDA and Miller have since been negotiating.

Bankruptcy Trustee Brian Mullen asked the bankruptcy court Thursday to expedite a hearing on his motion for approval of bidding procedures at the sale hearing, and the court set an Oct. 10 hearing in Phoenix.

If the court approves the sale, Miller and the trustee will have an unspecified period of due diligence in which Miller examines the facilities before the two sides close on the deal.

Along with the bankruptcy court, the USDA has to agree to the bankruptcy sale. USDA still held about $14.7 million worth of loans on the track when the bankruptcy occurred.

USDA Rural Development originally loaned the Yavapai County Fair Association about half the money it needed to build a new $22 million track in Prescott Valley in 2001 to replace the shorter track in Prescott. The summer racing meet in the Prescott area had been operating since 1960.

The track facilities include a one-mile horse racetrack, the 93,000-square-foot grandstands, about 860 horse stalls and a neighboring car racetrack. Miller said he has visited the site but has no idea how long it would take to bring it back to operating condition.

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Information from: The Daily Courier, http://www.dcourier.com


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